Passing of a Hero

WintonIf you did not already know about Nicholas Winton, who just passed away at the age of 106, please take a moment to read this article.

For me, the particular brand of heroism demonstrated by people like Winton has always been especially moving.  It is the purest form of altruism — self-sacrifice for complete strangers, with no possible reward, no direct personal stake, no bonds of family or faith to serve as motivation.  Every one of us would hope to demonstrate the same courage and humanity in similar circumstances, and yet so few of us pass the test when it comes.

Two years ago, together with my mother and brothers, I visited Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Memorial and Museum.  In a place filled with images and records that are simply overwhelming, it was the exhibit devoted to the Righteous Gentiles that affected me the most.

There is a well-known Talmudic expression that says “whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.”  It is hard not to think of this line, when reading the following description of just a few of the nearly 700 children that Nicholas Winton rescued:

Among them are the film director Karel Reisz, who made “The French Lieutenant’s Woman” (1981), “Isadora” (1968) and “Saturday Night and Sunday Morning” (1960); Lord Alfred Dubs, who became a member of Parliament; Joe Schlesinger, a Canadian broadcast correspondent; Hugo Marom, a founder of the Israeli Air Force; Vera Gissing, the author of “Pearls of Childhood” (2007) and other books; and Renata Laxová, a geneticist who discovered the Neu-Laxová Syndrome, a congenital abnormality.

May Nicholas Winton rest in peace, and may we all prove worthy of his example.

 

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Next Up: Middle School

Jeremy Bramson on the last day of elementary school.

Jeremy Bramson on the last day of elementary school.

It seems like just yesterday that Jeremy was boarding the bus for the first time on his way to kindergarten.

Now, here he is waiting for the bus on the very last day of elementary school.

Time flies.

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Crossing the Finish Line

Jeremy, Owen, and Noam after the North Avenue Mile.

Jeremy, Owen, and Noam after the North Avenue Mile.

Jeremy, Owen and I just finished the North Avenue Mile.  Our times: seven minutes and change, not too awful for guys who never run.

But the real standout at the race was Jonah Gorevic, who just yesterday set the world record in the mile for an 11-year old: 4:51:85.  Wow!

The North Avenue Mile is a terrific event hosted by New Ro Runners.  Big thanks to all the organizers and participants.

 

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Very Silly

Mayor Noam Bramson with Beth El nursery school students.

Mayor Noam Bramson with Beth El nursery school students.

I was invited to spend a few minutes with the students at Beth El’s nursery school this morning.  We read a couple of books together.  The first was an easy crowd-pleaser: The Mixed-Up Chameleon by mainstay children’s author Eric Carle.  But it’s the second book by Tom Tomorrow that may be of greater interest, especially to my critics!

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Bridges Award at SEPTA Dinner

Noam Bramson with Michael Apollo and Other Honorees

Noam Bramson with Michael Apollo and Other Honorees. Photo Credit: Carlton McKay

The annual Special Education PTA (SEPTA) dinner is always a terrific event, drawing hundreds of people and celebrating some truly extraordinary teachers and students.  This year’s dinner on Thursday was no exception.

Here I am with Michael Apollo, who received the “Student Bridges” Award (and gave a really exceptional speech,) plus the winners of the “We Are One” awards.  I received the “Bridges” Award.  It was an honor to stand alongside such an impressive and dedicated group.

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